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Sophia: Princess, Suffragette, Revolutionary
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Published:
Bloomsbury Publishing 2015
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In 1876 Sophia Duleep Singh was born into Indian royalty. Her father, Maharajah Duleep Singh, was heir to the Kingdom of the Sikhs, one of the greatest empires of the Indian subcontinent, a realm that stretched from the lush Kashmir Valley to the craggy foothills of the Khyber Pass and included the mighty cities of Lahore and Peshawar. It was a territory irresistible to the British, who plundered everything, including the fabled Koh-I-Noor diamond.

Exiled to England, the dispossessed Maharajah transformed his estate at Elveden in Suffolk into a Moghul palace, its grounds stocked with leopards, monkeys and exotic birds. Sophia, god-daughter of Queen Victoria, was raised a genteel aristocratic Englishwoman: presented at court, afforded grace and favor lodgings at Hampton Court Palace and photographed wearing the latest fashions for the society pages. But when, in secret defiance of the British government, she travelled to India, she returned a revolutionary.

Sophia transcended her heritage to devote herself to battling injustice and inequality, a far cry from the life to which she was born. Her causes were the struggle for Indian Independence, the fate of the lascars, the welfare of Indian soldiers in the First World War – and, above all, the fight for female suffrage. She was bold and fearless, attacking politicians, putting herself in the front line and swapping her silks for a nurse's uniform to tend wounded soldiers evacuated from the battlefields. Meticulously researched and passionately written, this enthralling story of the rise of women and the fall of empire introduces an extraordinary individual and her part in the defining moments of recent British and Indian history.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
01/13/2015
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781632860828
ASIN:
B00R9D5SUI

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APA Citation (style guide)

Anita Anand. (2015). Sophia: Princess, Suffragette, Revolutionary. Bloomsbury Publishing.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Anita Anand. 2015. Sophia: Princess, Suffragette, Revolutionary. Bloomsbury Publishing.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Anita Anand, Sophia: Princess, Suffragette, Revolutionary. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2015.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Anita Anand. Sophia: Princess, Suffragette, Revolutionary. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2015.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.

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      • value: british colonialism
      • value: Asian Indian
      • value: women's suffrage
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      • value: Suffragists
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      • value: feminism
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      • bioText: Anita Anand has been a radio and television journalist for almost twenty years. She is the presenter of Any Answers, the political phone-in programme on BBC Radio 4. During her career, she has also presented Drive, Doubletake and the Anita Anand Show on Radio 5 Live, and Saturday Live, The Westminster Hour, Beyond Westminster, Midweek and Woman's Hour on Radio 4. On BBC television she has presented The Daily Politics, The Sunday Politics and Newsnight. She has interviewed five Indian Prime Ministers, three from Pakistan, two from Great Britain and one from Bangladesh. She lives in west London. Sophia is her first book. It is the winner of the Eastern Eye Alchemy Festival Award for Literature and was shortlisted for the Slightly Foxed Best First Biography Prize.
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title
Sophia
fullDescription
In 1876 Sophia Duleep Singh was born into Indian royalty. Her father, Maharajah Duleep Singh, was heir to the Kingdom of the Sikhs, one of the greatest empires of the Indian subcontinent, a realm that stretched from the lush Kashmir Valley to the craggy foothills of the Khyber Pass and included the mighty cities of Lahore and Peshawar. It was a territory irresistible to the British, who plundered everything, including the fabled Koh-I-Noor diamond.

Exiled to England, the dispossessed Maharajah transformed his estate at Elveden in Suffolk into a Moghul palace, its grounds stocked with leopards, monkeys and exotic birds. Sophia, god-daughter of Queen Victoria, was raised a genteel aristocratic Englishwoman: presented at court, afforded grace and favor lodgings at Hampton Court Palace and photographed wearing the latest fashions for the society pages. But when, in secret defiance of the British government, she travelled to India, she returned a revolutionary.

Sophia transcended her heritage to devote herself to battling injustice and inequality, a far cry from the life to which she was born. Her causes were the struggle for Indian Independence, the fate of the lascars, the welfare of Indian soldiers in the First World War – and, above all, the fight for female suffrage. She was bold and fearless, attacking politicians, putting herself in the front line and swapping her silks for a nurse's uniform to tend wounded soldiers evacuated from the battlefields. Meticulously researched and passionately written, this enthralling story of the rise of women and the fall of empire introduces an extraordinary individual and her part in the defining moments of recent British and Indian history.
reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Publishers Weekly
      • content: A groundbreaking work that at last tells the important story of Sophia Duleep Singh: unflinching princess-in-exile, doughty moderniser and tenacious suffragette. From the streets of India to the corridors of power, Sophia artfully examines the tensions between East and West; and one woman's choice between fighting for freedom and staying
        silent.
      • premium: False
      • source: Library Journal
      • content: Anita Anand has definitively restored to history one of the most important and charismatic figures in the suffragette movement. This thoroughly absorbing and deftly informative account instantly pulled me into the irresistible adventure and vitality of Sophia Duleep Singh's defiant and innovative existence. Anand's timely biography is a wonderful testament to Sophia's lifetime of commitment to Indian independence and the advancement of women, and to the range and courage of her achievements.
      • premium: False
      • source: The New Yorker
      • content: Anand writes with a journalist's sense for a solid story and a historian's eye for fascinating anecdotes. Filled with rich detail and walks through little-known avenues of the past.
      • premium: False
      • source: Los Angeles Times
      • content: A richly textured portrait . . . An excellent job of detailing the social and historical backdrop while highlighting the daring and revolutionary nature of Sophia's choices and accomplishments.
      • premium: False
      • source: New York Times Book Review
      • content: Providing a rare glimpse into imperialism's intimate effects, this biography explores the forces that radicalized [Sophia], including an early trip to India and the British aristocracy's refusal to countenance mixed-race unions, which prevented her from marrying.
      • premium: False
      • source: The Daily Beast
      • content: Anand has done a yeoman's job of pulling together Sophia's fascinating biographical history.
      • premium: False
      • source: The Washington Post
      • content: Part of a biographer's job is to rescue forgotten figures, and in 'Sophia: Princess, Suffragette, Revolutionary' Anita Anand has salvaged an extraordinary one . . . Spanning a century of tremendous upheaval in India and England, this lively if overstuffed biography is a compendium of monumental figures, from Winston Churchill to Mohandas Ghandi to Emmeline Parkhurst.
      • premium: False
      • source: Wall Street Journal Weekend
      • content: An engrossing new biography . . . The book is a reminder that many interesting historical figures are still waiting to have their stories told.
      • premium: False
      • source: Washington Times
      • content: Anand astutely draws connections between the rise of nationalism across Britain's colonies in the early 20th century and the intensifying battles for women's suffrage and labor rights . . . Anand is able to highlight how the British government's entwined aristocratic and colonial dominance made it especially resistant to the women's claims.
      • premium: False
      • source: Independent on Sunday
      • content: In Sophia Ms. Anand tells her subject's story with verve and on a broad canvas, an accomplishment because so few of the princess's own writings remain.
      • premium: False
      • source: Glasgow Herald
      • content: The best stories, as we know, are often too far-fetched for fiction. This is one such, the long forgotten tale of Sophia Duleep Singh.
      • premium: False
      • source: Daily Beast "Best Biographies of 2015"
      • content: Anita Anand's 'Sophia: Princess, Suffragette', Revolutionary unearths the extraordinary story of a forgotten British-Indian suffragette who went from Queen Victoria's goddaughter to militant activist.
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        November 3, 2014
        As a ward of the British government born in exile, Indian princess Sophia Duleep Singh embodied a curious mix of East and West—and an equally intriguing combination of patriotism and socially conscious rebelliousness. Journalist and BBC personality Anand writes a sympathetic biography that reads almost like a novel, illustrating how a forbidden trip to India changed the fashion-conscious party devotee into a woman seeking fulfillment in a society that relished her royal status and position as Queen Victoria’s goddaughter, but punished her for the color of her skin. While deeply involved in the early 20th-century militant suffrage movement, she also raised funds and helped nurse wounded Indians sent to England to recover during WWI. Anand successfully shows how the inner struggle between her native English culture and her Indian heritage wore on Sophia,
        resulting in depression and loneliness. Emmeline Pankhurst and a young Winston Churchill make appearances during Sophia’s suffrage efforts, but it’s Gandhi’s evolution that adds depth to Sophia’s transformation, humanizing both in the process. One part glittering socialite, one part activist, and entirely unique, Sophia adds a previously unexplored facet to the tumultuous progressive era that remade the Western world.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        Starred review from December 1, 2014

        BBC radio and television journalist Anand tells the story of Sophia Duleep Singh (1876-1948), born in exile in England but the rightful heiress to a rich and mighty Indian empire--the Kingdom of the Sikhs. Raised as a privileged Englishwoman with Queen Victoria for a godmother, Sophia's life took an unexpected turn when she dared to travel to her ancestral home in India. While there, she found herself moved by the plight of her kinsmen who languished under British rule, and upon her return to England she realized that she could no longer be content with the dog shows and frivolous parties that formerly filled her days. Instead, Sophia embarked on a rebellious journey that would result in her championing the causes of Indian independence, women's rights, and even Indian soldiers fighting for the British crown during World War I. VERDICT Anand writes with a journalist's sense for a solid story and a historian's eye for fascinating anecdotes. Filled with rich detail and walks through little-known avenues of the past, this work is bound to enchant history lovers, those interested in women's studies, Anglophiles, and anyone who enjoys biographies.--Laura Marcus, Odenton, MD

        Copyright 2014 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        December 15, 2014
        Anand paints a richly textured portrait of Sophia Duleep Singh, one of Great Britain's seminalyet largely forgottensuffragettes. Princess-in-exile, daughter of a maharaja, goddaughter to Queen Victoria, Sophia was raised in opulent luxury on a Suffolk estate outfitted to resemble a Mogul palace. A clandestine trip to India in the early twentieth century proved to be a transformative experience for a woman caught between two opposing cultures. Seeking her own unique niche in the worlds she straddled, she committed herself to the female suffrage movement, joining forces with an array of militant suffragettes, including Emmeline Pankhurst and Elizabeth Garret Anderson. Later, as an advocate for the welfare of Indian soldiers in WWI, she redefined herself as a champion of Indian independence. Anand, a journalist by trade, does an excellent job of detailing the social and historical backdrop while highlighting the daring and revolutionary nature of Sophia's choices and accomplishments.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2014, American Library Association.)

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In 1876 Sophia Duleep Singh was born into Indian royalty. Her father, Maharajah Duleep Singh, was heir to the Kingdom of the Sikhs, one of the greatest empires of the Indian subcontinent, a realm that stretched from the lush Kashmir Valley to the craggy foothills of the Khyber Pass and included the mighty cities of Lahore and Peshawar. It was a territory irresistible to the British, who plundered everything, including the fabled Koh-I-Noor diamond.

Exiled to England, the dispossessed Maharajah transformed his estate at Elveden in Suffolk into a Moghul palace, its grounds stocked with leopards, monkeys and exotic birds. Sophia, god-daughter of Queen Victoria, was raised a genteel aristocratic Englishwoman: presented at court, afforded grace and favor lodgings at Hampton Court Palace and photographed wearing the latest fashions for the society pages. But when, in secret defiance of the British government, she travelled to India, she returned a revolutionary.

...
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      • description: History / Europe / Great Britain / Victorian Era (1837-1901)